Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Review: The Confidant

Author: Helene Gremillon
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Books

Paris, 1975. While sifting through condolence letters after her mother’s death, Camille finds a long, handwritten missive that she assumes came by mistake. But every Tuesday brings another installment from a stranger named Louis, a man separated from his first love, Annie, in the years before World War II. In his tale, Annie falls victim to the merciless plot of a wealthy, barren couple just as German troops arrive in Paris. But also awaiting Camille’s discovery is the other side of the story-one that calls into question Annie’s innocence and reveals the devastating consequences of revenge. As Camille reads on, she realizes that her own life may be the next chapter in this tragic story.

The Confidant is a suspenseful and poignant debut from a captivating young writer.
“Love is a mysterious principle, falling out of love more mysterious still. One can know why one loves, but never, truly, who one has ceased to love.” – Finished Copy pg. 28

“In those days I still found the letters entertaining, almost friendly-a touch of mystery, in a world that was completely devoid of it, was hardly unpleasant.” – Finished Copy pg. 32

“Where love is concerned, my darling, you mustn’t ask, mustn’t beg. Don’t ever try to make people love you the way you want them to love you, that’s not it, that’s not true love.” – Finished Copy pg. 46
I found this story to be raw and eloquently powerful. It is written in the form of letters being sent to our main character, Camille. But after finishing the story, I am not so confident who the main character really is in this book. Whose story was this? I am feeling so many things and really am holding back tears and ten other emotions at the same time. I became so wrapped up in this story and was literally on the edge of my seat, waiting to find out if my speculations from the beginning were correct. Very well written! I almost felt like this story was a song; it was that beautiful.
We are taken back and forth between the past and the present with Camille and her mystery “Louis,” whom she keeps receiving these strange letters from. He is telling her a story of his first love, Annie, from years ago, and Camille is constantly trying to understand how this has anything to do with her. Camille, being a book editor, thinks at first that this is some clever man’s way of getting her to read his transcript. As the story progresses Camille, as well as the reader, begin to find out that these letters may actually be connected to Camille’s life in a very deep and personal way.
Louis’ story was the most passionate and romantic story that I believe I have ever heard. I could hear this older man’s voice in my head so clearly as I read each new letter that Camille received. He spared no small details and was sure to cover every nook and cranny for the reader and for Camille. I could feel the endearing and undying love that he felt for Annie and it literally gave me chills. This man was really in love with this woman and he did everything in his power to protect and keep her for as long as he could. This is like a Mr. Darcy character, and oh how I love those! The love story behind The Confidant depicts what I picture to be a real life love story and truly draws the reader in and has them hanging on each and every word. So wonderfully told. It was almost as if I was not even reading a book at all, but rather listening to a man tell me a story.
Both stories took place in France, Camille’s and Louis’. We didn’t see or hear much from Camille until the very end, and at first I was saddened by this, but I soon realized that it was all part of our author’s plan. I loved the setting and hearing of France during the war with some added details about what was happening with Hitler and his Nazi Regime. I pictured the cobblestoned streets of Paris and beautiful Parisian men and women. I was totally captured and swept away in this story and cannot even begin to tell you how powerful it is. I do not want to spoil any details for anyone. I highly suggest you all go and pick up your own copy!
***Thank you to the publishers at Penguin for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

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